Katherine Magyarody, “‘Sacred Ties of Brotherhood’: The Social Mediation of Imperial Ideology in The Last of the Mohicans and Canadian Crusoes” (pp. 315–342)
This essay analyzes narrative patterns of colonist-indigenous relations within Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and two Robinsonade texts, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and Catharine Parr Traill’s Canadian Crusoes (1852). Within the latter texts, the multiplication of Crusoe into “castaway” groups allows for an investigation of the social collateral of reaffirming racial hierarchies via settlers’ allegiance to indigenous individuals while destroying larger indigenous communities. In The Last of the Mohicans, the hybrid Cora Munroe and the Mohican Uncas’s love for her threatens the established pattern of homosocial interracial friendship; their deaths reaffirm racial boundaries. Conversely, by depicting a “coterie” of Scotch, French-Canadian, hybrid, and Mohawk members, Canadian Crusoes self-consciously rewrites the tragedy of Cooper’s novel so that sororal love enables cross-cultural marriage. Nevertheless, Traill’s proleptic descriptions of Canadian settlement mark her narrative as an alternate history that diverges from the progressive alienation of Native communities.